Leanne Kiernan Misses Ireland Match Through Injury

Leanne Kiernan has been ruled out of the Ireland Women’s squad for their first fixture of 2019 due to injury.

The West Ham striker has already established herself as first choice Ireland striker but was left out of the 20-player Ireland squad.

“The first game of a new year always represents a great opportunity to build momentum in what is an important 12 months for the team,” said Ireland Head Coach Colin Bell.

Midfielder Megan Connolly returns to the squad after completing her college commitments at Florida State University and Birmingham City defender Harriet Scott also returns to the squad.

Midfielder Tyler Toland has recovered from an injury sustained in the 4-0 win over Northern Ireland in August to be called up.

There are also call-ups for Women’s Under 17 players Rebecca Cooke and Emily Kraft after impressing in the November training camp.

“We’re delighted to welcome back Megan Connolly after winning the National Championship with Florida State University and she’ll be a valuable asset for the team in the future.

“Harriet Scott and Tyler Toland also come back into the squad which is a big boost for the squad ahead of what should be a difficult test against an excellent Belgium team.

“I’ve also decided to name Emily Kraft and Rebecca Cooke in the squad who did really well in our November training camp and another week with the team should really benefit their development.

“We want to test ourselves against the very best teams ahead of the start of the 2021 European Championships qualifying in September to make sure we’re fully prepared to qualify for our first-ever major international tournament.”

Republic of Ireland WNT squad v Belgium

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Grace Moloney (Reading)

Defenders: Heather Payne (Bristol City), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool FC), Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Eabha O’Mahony (Cork City).

Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Kildrum Tigers), Megan Connolly (unattached), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), Rebecca Cooke (Shelbourne).

Attackers: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Amber Barrett (Peamount United), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Isibeal Atkinson (Shelbourne), Emily Kraft (FFC Frankfurt).

Belgium v Republic of Ireland

International Friendly

Pinatar Arena

Murcia, Spain

Kick-Off 2pm (3pm Irish time)